• Got It Together: The Fashion Pack

    In the December 2012 "Wise Up" issue of i-D MagazineVogue’s creative director Grace Coddington (above, winking on the cover in all her flame-haired glory) commented that designers need "a few things going wrong in their life. I mean, I hate to say it, but it teaches you a hell of a lot, you know." 

    Some of the fashion world’s most lauded luminaries have fallen off the horse (and the wagon) and made major pratfalls on their way to becoming the industry icons they are today. "Nicolas [Ghesquière] took forever to get where he was. Marc [Jacobs] got fired ten times before he made it," Coddington added. So, if you’re jobless, scandalized, or just a little down-in-the dumps, take comfort in fashion’s fabulous failures and how they rose from the ashes. -Natalie

    [Marc Jacobs, 1992]

    Who: Marc Jacobs
    Epic Fail: In 1998, Jacobs was plucked from relative obscurity to become Perry Ellis' creative director, a move perhaps doomed from the start as the magnitude of the job caused massive fear in Jacobs, which spiralled into a serious drink and drug habit. His critically acclaimed ‘grunge’ collection of 1992 famously got Jacobs fired, and had his business partner Robert Duffy remortgaging his house to keep the pair afloat.

    Back in the Game: Jacobs’ fall from grace was at least a glamorous one, and with supporters like Anna Wintour and Bloomingdale's in his corner, it wasn’t long before Louis Vuitton came calling and the designer cleaned up his act.


    [Anna Wintour, 1970]


    Who: Anna Wintour
    Epic Fail: In 1976, Wintour’s first foray into the New York publishing world ended abruptly when she was fired as junior fashion editor of Harper’s BAZAAR for, as she puts it, “not understanding American fashion.”
    Back in the Game: While her edgy appeal proved too much for some, it highlighted her as an innovator to others. In fact, Wintour later cited the incident as one of the best things that could have happened to her career. "I worked for American Harper’s BAZAAR... they fired me. I recommend that you all get fired, it's a great learning experience," she told the young audience at Teen Vogue's Fashion University in 2010.

    [Alber Elbaz, 2012]

    Who: Alber Elbaz
    Epic Fail: After a short stint as creative director of YSL, Tom Ford unceremoniously dismissed Alber Elbaz when Gucci Group (now known as PPR) took over the label in 2001. "At Yves Saint Laurent I felt like the son-in-law, like I was part of the family but not quite," he has said of the events. "When I was fired, I felt like the widow." Adding insult to injury, Elbaz went on to work for Krizia in Italy, but left three months later after an alleged falling-out with the label’s founder.
    Back in the Game: Elbaz briefly considered going into medicine, but was hired to resuscitate Lanvin, the world’s oldest running couture house, which he has achieved to overwhelming success. "It was painful and destroying, but it didn't crush me," he said of the YSL incident. "I have never been Alber from Saint Laurent, just like I'm not Alber from Lanvin. I am just Alber, short. And I am very short." LOLZ.

    [Kate Moss, 2006]

    Who: Kate Moss
    Epic Fail: Two words: Cocaine Kate.
    Back in the Game: Nothing keeps this good-time girl down. Moss pulled up her bootstraps, worked her butt off, and pouted her way to becoming a more powerful fashion force than before. Fragrance deals, endless billion-dollar campaign contracts, high street collaborations, wedding bells and a coffee table tome promptly followed.

    And, let’s not leave out the woman in question…
    [Grace Coddington, 1980]

    Who: Grace Coddington
    Epic Fail: In her recently published Grace: A Memoir, Coddington details her move from British Vogue to Calvin Klein in the late ’80s. Having consulted for the brand and styled its ad campaigns, Coddington was hired as design director when Klein was admitted into rehab. After dismal reviews and a direction that proved "completely wrongheaded and far too grandiose for Calvin’s minimalist aesthetic," in her words, "My efforts showed that I was not good at leading a design team, and certainly not one that worked on the basis of designing from the ground up. Eventually I might even have led the company into deep trouble." Ouch.
    Back in the Game: Coddington made nice with Klein by creating the iconic Eternity campaign with Bruce Weber, then promptly jumped ship to American Vogue, where she still presides, decades later, as the über-respected creative director.